Friday, 14 January 2011

The Hip Replacement Priest

This was written for The Club of Queer Trades. You can tell that really, I take time over the club songs because i can write them from scratch. with virtually all the other bands the music comes first and you sort of join the dots. this is an excellent way of working; a guide vocal gives you the timing, stresses, the syncopation and then you can go away and work backwards from that. When i'm working on Big Marker or KNOCK-KNOCK songs I'm singing them almost at the same time as hearing them so there is an immediacy and an energy to them: they're quite vivid. But with The Club I like to seat back in an armchair with a good single-malt and a loaded churchwarden and let the inspiration billow out of my nostrils.

The obvious reference for the song is The Fall's "Hip Priest" but really, lyrically it's a cross between Jarvis Cocker, Jake Thackray and the spoken word bits from Dexy's "Dont Stand Me Down" (specifically "What's she like" in the running to be one of my favourite ever songs).

The notion of making old people the vanguard of media culture is one that's close to my heart but it's a pipe-dream. Old people look funny.

The Hip Replacement Priest

A lot of people, they
Come up to me, they say
John, you’re a pretty cool guy
Well you must have been back in the day
I say “Sure, I had my moments
I wasn’t captain of the team, you understand
But the skinny boys, the readers
I took them by the hand
I told them what to read and why
And how to comb their hair
Which rock and roll bands were cool
And which of them were square
A long time ago and far away
There was a magic land
The sun was always shining so
Desert boots were in demand
There were feminists, vegetarians and hunting saboteurs
Seven inches, hand-pressed and dressed
Were always “de rigueur”
Fringes, badges and Crombie coats
Were non-gender specific
And no one ever had a fuck
But the wanking was terrific,
And I bestrode it like a colossus
They called me Iron John
Because of the solid principles
I built my empire on
But not any more friends
Fisherman’s caps no longer doffed
I’m super-annuated
My rep’s been pensioned off
My jowls have dropped like shopping
Beauty’s become the beast
My bed-side manner’s moribund
As the hip replacement priest

What is it, do you think
That first starts to go?
The first crack in the windscreen
First empty seats at the show
When did it first slip from my grasp
Could I place the date?
That I first tested my muscles
And found they couldn’t take my weight
I looked like I was off somewhere

Less crowded, dark and cramped
But the travelers’ cheques stayed in the drawer
The passport’s left unstamped
Now my thoughts are never sought
My opinions not required
I still get the odd enquiry
Like “Are you feeling tired?”
“Do you want a sit down?” “Shall I stick on the kettle?”
My carers all have tattoos
And their faces pierced with metal
I shift the tartan blanket
I rearrange my shawl
And think “I could have been the king
I could have had it all”
I’m swaddled in self-pity
Tight as a miser’s cigarette
But I don’t think it hasn’t happened
But that it hasn’t happened yet
I’ll reverse the polarities
I’ll turn things on their head
Popularise pot bellies
Eroticise the wed
They’ll colour their hair grey
With a dye called “Just for Boys”
They’ll be tutting at the live shows
Asking to turn down the noise
Hand-brake turns at the whist drive
They’ll swap the crack den for the snug
The only stimulant sanctioned is
An ounce of ready rubbed
Cardigans and crosswords
Youthful beauty lined with age
It’s not your cataracts; it’s dry ice
As I appear onstage
I’m seated in a rocking chair
Dressed in corduroy and tweed
At my feet sit leggy lovelies
All pretending to take heed
The orchestra starts to swell and
Once the applause has ceased
I croon my theme; my anthem:
The Hip Replacement Priest

No comments:

Post a Comment